WHAT IS METFORMIN?
Metformin is used to treat high blood sugar levels that are caused by a type of diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes called type 2 diabetes. With this type of diabetes, insulin produced by the pancreas is not able to get sugar into the cells of the body where it can work properly. Using metformin alone, with a type of oral antidiabetic medicine called a sulfonylurea, or with insulin, will help to lower blood sugar when it is too high and help restore the way you use food to make energy.
Many people can control type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise. Following a specially planned diet and exercise will always be important when you have diabetes, even when you are taking medicines. To work properly, the amount of metformin you take must be balanced against the amount and type of food you eat and the amount of exercise you do. If you change your diet or exercise, you will want to test your blood sugar to find out if it is too low. Your doctor will teach you what to do if this happens.
Metformin does not help patients who have insulin-dependent or type 1 diabetes
because they cannot produce insulin from their pancreas gland. Their blood glucose is best controlled by insulin injections. This medicine is available only with your doctor’s prescription.
Metformin belongs to a class of drugs called biguanides. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. Metformin works by: reducing the amount of glucose (sugar) made by your liver, decreasing the amount of glucose your body absorbs, increasing the effect of insulin on your body. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body remove extra sugar from your blood. This lowers your blood sugar levels.
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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW PRIOR TO USING METFORMIN
You should not use metformin if you are allergic to it, or if you have: severe kidney disease; or diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment). If you need to have surgery or any type of scan including CT or x-ray using a dye that is injected into your veins, you may need to temporarily stop taking metformin. Be sure your caregivers know ahead of time that you are using this medication.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had: kidney disease (your kidney function may need to be checked before you take this medicine); high ketone levels in your blood or urine; heart disease, heart failure or liver disease or other oral diabetes medications. You may develop lactic acidosis, a dangerous build-up of lactic acid in your blood. This may be more likely if you have other medical conditions, a severe infection, or if you are 65 years old or older. Speak with your Physician regarding any risks and about using metformin if you are pregnant or you become pregnant. Controlling diabetes is very important during pregnancy, should you experience high blood sugar be aware that this could cause complications in both mother and baby. Inform your Physician if you become pregnant while taking metformin.
Metformin may stimulate ovulation in a premenopausal woman and may increase the risk of unintended pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your risk. You should not breastfeed while using this medicine. Metformin should not be given to a child younger than 10 years old. Some forms of metformin are not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:
Metformin causes some common side effects. These can occur when you first start taking metformin, but usually go away over time. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or cause a problem for you. The more common side effects of metformin include:
- Stomach pains
- Weight Loss
- Metallic Taste in mouth
Reduce side effects by taking Metformin with food. Also, to help lessen your risk of severe diarrhea, your doctor will likely start you on a low dosage of metformin and then increase it slowly.
Does taking Metformin make you gain weight?
Metformin improves how the body responds to insulin and it is effective for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Taste disturbances, diarrhea, and other stomach-related side effects are common side effects. It is unlikely to cause weight gain.
What to avoid when taking Metformin?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It lowers blood sugar.
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